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Confident, Strong and Anxious to Learn

Carolyn Terteling-Payne
Carolyn Terteling

CLASS Council Member and English alumna Carolyn Terteling '59 grateful for her Idaho experience

Advisory Council member Carolyn Terteling earned a B.S. degree in English with Psychology and French as minors, and a teaching degree, too.

The 1959 graduate also finished as a Phi Beta Kappa member, a Top Ten Senior, a Mortar Board member, and president of Gamma Phi Beta sorority.

As a senior at Boise High School, the parents of her classmates who were Idaho alumni encouraged her to attend Idaho.

“They convinced me it was the very best choice for me, and they were absolutely right!” she said. “The moment I arrived on campus for a visit I knew I had found my new ‘home.’”

Terteling said she loved the look of the campus, the ivy covered buildings with almost everything within walking distance and the charm of the sorority and fraternity houses.

“So, in some way, I think Idaho picked me,” the former Boise mayor said.

In her first semester at school, sorority sisters and others encouraged her to get involved in campus politics.

She already knew a lot of women in the freshman class from her experience at Girls State, where she was elected governor and where she became acquainted with other young women from all over Idaho.

“I really enjoyed the campaigning and it was fun to become friends with men and women all over the campus,” Terteling said. “All the activities and clubs became very important in allowing me to learn about all the extras the university offered.”

Terteling won her race as Freshman Class Officer, and then later served on the Executive Board, which was the student government leadership for the entire Student Body.

The experience of living in a sorority was quite valuable to her.

“I had never been away from home for more than a few days, and I badly needed advice in terms of registration (how many credits and which classes to take),” she said. “The members also helped insure that all freshmen developed good study habits and maintained good grades.”

“Because I was on scholarship, I felt compelled to prove myself worthy of that kind of help, so I intended to maintain a 4.0 every semester for all four years,” Terteling said. (She did so, except for one semester she was given a B in General Psychology.)

When she speaks to high school students about the university, the advisory council member always mentions that it is “truly a GEM.”

“The university is located in the beautiful, scenic Palouse area,” Terteling said. “It is the right size for everyone.”

The town of Moscow is a real attribute and an enormous asset, she said.

“Everything anyone needs is right there and the town is charming and unique,” the Idaho alumna said.” Moscow is the perfect home for a great university!”

She said she always emphasizes the fact that anyone who attends Idaho will have friends from all over the state and beyond.

“Idaho alums are dedicated, loyal, proud and very successful in whatever career or activity that they pursue!” Terteling said.

“Because I was fortunate to have several scholarships, I believe I have an obligation to donate to the university,” Terteling said.

She served for several years on the Foundation Board and two years as its president.

After her four sons were on their own, she became involved with local politics. She served on Boise City Council for 10 years, and then became Mayor for one year. Soon after that, she served for one year as Director of Human Resources for the state of Idaho while Jim Risch served as governor.

She said the university helped her become the person she is today.

“I arrived there at age 18 without big dreams or specific goals,” Terteling said. “My Idaho experience helped me become confident, strong and anxious to learn.”

She said the university was her “stepping stone” to a brighter future than she had ever imagined.

“I will always be proud of my education and deeply grateful to the University of Idaho,” she said.

Terteling hopes the youth of today are aware of the enormous value of a college education and the necessity to continue to learn.

“I am a huge fan of life-long learning,” Terteling said. “I feel young people today are more goal-oriented, and they are looking forward, knowing that the opportunities for them are enormous.

“Students today are responsible for our future, and I am truly confident they will succeed,” she said.

Article by Sue Hinz for the University of Idaho

English Department

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